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Steak sonograms? Southlake-based company takes high-end meats direct to consumers

Starting this week, Rancher’s Prime will deliver high-end meats to consumers’ homes nationwide via orders placed online.
Credit: Jake Dean / Dallas Business Journal
Carl Ratner founded Rancher's Prime after being repeatedly disappointed by meat delivery services with subpar products.

SOUTHLAKE, Texas — On a ranch in Erath County east of Stephenville, Texas, a Black Angus bull named “Cowboy Up” ambles outside a barn while cows in the nearby pasture belt out a chorus of moos.

Inside the barn is where cattle are administered ultrasounds when they’re about a year old as part of a high-tech campaign to create perfectly marbled ribeye steaks through better breeding and diet.

The 960-acre spread that the cattle call home is part of an elite network of ranches around Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma and Iowa hog farms that provide the beef and pork products for Rancher’s Prime, a new company based in Southlake.

Starting this week, Rancher’s Prime will deliver high-end meats to consumers’ homes nationwide via orders placed online.

Carl Ratner founded Rancher's Prime after being repeatedly disappointed by big promises of meat delivery services with subpar products, he said as he drove a four-wheeler around the Erath County ranch.

Rancher's Prime gives ranchers the tools they need to deliver “prime of the prime” steak, beef, pork and barbecue directly to consumers’ front porch, no middleman necessary, said Ratner, a native Kansan who worked cattle growing up. He now lives in Grapevine and in his day job is a business development director for a supplier of lighting for apartment communities.

The new company sells only prime beef — not choice or select, Ratner said. Previously, the quality of meat available through Rancher’s Prime was reserved only for leading steakhouses and limited grocers, he said. Even in the best steakhouses, the quality can be hit or miss, he said.

“I travel quite a bit all over the country and I would entertain clients,” Ratner said. “They always want to go to a steakhouse. Over and over, one steak would be great and for the next customer, the steak wasn’t good at all. Growing up in Kansas, of course, I’m used to the prime, high-quality beef, and I just got really frustrated. That’s really how it started.”

To read more about Rancher’s Prime, and see more photos, click here.